Killbilly

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A seminal band in the insurgent country movement, Killbilly fused lightning-hot bluegrass licks with the energy and ethos of punk, launching some notable No Depression names along the way. Singer, songwriter,…
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A seminal band in the insurgent country movement, Killbilly fused lightning-hot bluegrass licks with the energy and ethos of punk, launching some notable No Depression names along the way. Singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist Alan Wooley wrote and performed all parts on the 1986 Killbilly cassette Foggy Mountain Anarchy, and was joined by Craig "Niteman" Taylor on vocal and harmonica for the band's inaugural gig March 12, 1987, on KNON community radio in Dallas. That show was the first of more than 600 that the pair would play in years to come, augmented by almost 100 different players. Killbilly's live show gained notoriety, combining bluegrass and country instrumentation, including banjo, pedal steel, and fiddle, with thrashing, raw intensity, even including covers by acts like Hüsker Dü. The lineup primarily featured banjo player and vocalist Stephen Trued, who later died from complications of hemophilia; acoustic guitarist, mandolin player, and vocalist Harris "Stealth" Kirby; bassist and vocalist Richard Hunter; and drummer Michael Schwedler. After selling a handful of self-produced cassettes (Bootleg, Not for Sale, Alive From the City of Hate, two eponymous tapes) at shows in China, Europe, and all over North America, the band took a major-label bow with 1992's slicked-up Stranger in This Place. Their swan song, Foggy Mountain Anarchy, followed just two years later, satisfying more fans of their live act. Notable alumni include guitarist Rhett Miller and bassist Murry Hammond (Old 97's), bassist Mark Rubin (Bad Livers), two-time national banjo champion Jeff Scroggins (Big Twang), touring banjo player and manager Louis Jay Meyers (co-founder of South by Southwest Music Festival), and publicist Nan Warshaw (co-founder of Chicago's respected independent y'allternative label Bloodshot Records). Taylor retired from professional music after the band's final performance November 4, 1994. Wooley went on to play with the Cartwrights and Jack Ingram's Beat Up Ford Band.